Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Get a grip on the complete offerings from the major camera makers when selecting your new D-SLR
Nikon's extensive D-SLR system includes seven camera bodies, 53 AF lenses, four flash units, a host of versatile accessories and some excellent software. Many pros earn their livings with higher-end Nikon D-SLRs, while the entry-level models combine excellent performance with ease of use for newbies.
All Nikon D-SLRs contain a focusing motor except the entry-level D40 and D40X models; these utilize the focusing motor in the attached lens and thus can autofocus only with lenses that contain focusing motors-the AF-S and AF-I Nikkor series. Other Nikkor lenses can be used on these cameras with manual focusing. There are 26 AF-S lenses, with focal lengths from 12-24mm to 600mm, so D40X users have access to a full range of autofocusing focal lengths.
Cameras. Nikon's new flagship model is the D3, the company's first FX-format "full-frame-sensor" D-SLR (all other Nikon D-SLRs have smaller DX-format sensors, with a 1.5x focal-length factor). The D3 can shoot its 12.1-megapixel images at 9 per second. If you attach a DX-Nikkor lens, the D3 automatically switches to DX format and can shoot the resulting 5.1-megapixel images at 11 fps. Other notable features include a high-resolution, 3-inch LCD with two LiveView modes, a maximum ISO of 25,600, speedy 0.12-second start-up, two CF card slots and a new AF system.
Still in the line is the rugged and fast 12.4-megapixel D2XS-a flagship model until the D3's arrival-featuring a full range of versatile features and excellent performance. The D2XS can shoot cropped 6.7-megapixel images at 8 fps.
Introduced alongside the new D3 is the mid-range D300, with a 12.3-megapixel, DX-format image sensor, 6 fps shooting, a high-res 3-inch monitor with "tripod" and "handheld" LiveView modes, a 0.13-second start-up, the same new AF system as the D3 and Nikon's first Self-Cleaning Sensor Unit. The excellent 10.2-megapixel D200 also remains in the line.
The D80 is a big step up from entry-level. It features a 10.2-megapixel image sensor and technology from the D200, quick 0.18-second start-up, in-camera image editing, multiple-exposure capability and more.
Nikon also offers a pair of attractively priced models, the D40 and D40X. The compact D40X features 10.2 megapixels, simple operation, quick 0.18-second start-up, in-camera editing and excellent performance. The D40 provides similar features in an even lower-priced, 6.1-megapixel package.
Lenses. Nikon's lenses are excellent, and Nikon users currently can choose among 53 AF Nikkors, including nine DX models designed especially for Nikon's DX-sensor D-SLRs (but also usable on the new full-frame D3, which automatically switches to DX format when a DX lens is attached). DX-sensor cameras have a 1.5x focal-length factor; non-DX lenses used on the full-frame D3 perform just as they do on a 35mm SLR.
Fixed focal lengths range from the 10.5mm DX fish-eye and 14mm superwide-angle to the 600mm supertelephoto. Zooms range from 12-24mm (DX format) and 14-24mm ultrawides to a 200-400mm supertele. This gives the D3 user 35mm-equivalent focal lengths from 14mm to 600mm, and all Nikon D-SLR users equivalent focal lengths from 16mm to 900mm with the DX format's 1.5x focal-length factor. Nikon also offers a manual-focus perspective-control "shift" lens and 1.4x, 1.7x and 2x tele-extenders.
Nikon's lineup includes 13 VR lenses, with built-in, highly effective optical Vibration Reduction systems that adjust lens elements to counter handheld camera shake.
Page 3 of 11